This week, Brian from BC Interruption talks about the decline of the mustache in Chestnut Hill. Really sad to hear about that. Also there's some football stuff.
Pretty bad. How we got here is too long and convoluted a story to get into here, but basically it boils down as follows: Spaziani decided to back the incumbent starting QB (Shinskie) who, despite his struggles, still managed to win 6 games for the Eagles in 2009. Shinskie didn't look all that impressive against early season fodder (Weber State, Kent State), then proceeded to run into the Bud Foster buzzsaw for the second straight season. Shinskie's backup, Michael Marscovetra, didn't look much better in his limited relief appearances for Shinskie. I think the coaching staff was hopeful that they could get through this season with a serviceable Shinskie / Marscovetra and keep the redshirt on Chase Rettig, who easily has the most upside of the three.
That plan (obviously) fizzled and Spaz decided to burn Rettig's redshirt last weekend against Notre Dame. Rettig went down in the second quarter with an ankle sprain (X-Rays were negative), and Marscovetra came in (again, in relef) and couldn't move the Eagles offense.
Rettig didn't practice on Tuesday, but did have limited reps in practice today. If he's healthy enough to play, and it sounds like he will be, I think you'll see him start on Saturday. If Rettig can't go, I would expect Spaz to stick with his guns and you'll see Marsco get his first career start. Either way, the 'Pack will likely be facing the fourth different Eagles starting QB in as many years.
2.) Aside from quarterback play, what sorts of issues have been plaguing the offense to this point in the season? Do you have any hope for improvement?
Where to begin ... All of BC's early season offensive struggles really boil down to some really poor and inconsistent offensive line play. It's been pretty shocking to BC fans to see the offensive line struggle so much given all the starts and talent that returns to the line this season. But they just look lost. Missed assignments, lots of penalties and an inability to open up running lanes for Montel.
Harris and the Eagles running game has suffered as a result. The trio of BC quarterbacks have also struggled, mostly because they haven't been given enough time to operate. And when they are given enough time, they hold onto the ball too long or are too immobile to gain yardage on the ground when things break down.
While the Eagles receiving corps is young and inexperienced, they do have a lot of potential. But they have had their fair share of miscues and dropped passes that they aren't beyond reproach either.
Basically, nothing is working for the Eagles offense. As for hope of improvement, I'm somewhat optimistic the offensive line and running game can return to form in short order. There's too much talent for those units to struggle for much longer. I'm much less optimistic with the QB and WR situations. Lots of inexperience with both those units, and I think it will take much longer for those units to turn things around.
3.) If Tom O'Brien had grown a killer mustache while he was at BC, would you guys have been more patient with him?
The favorability rating of those that rock a stache in Chestnut Hill must follow the business cycle, as it's clearly cyclical. Al Skinner rocked a mean Danny Glover-esque stache for years before being shown the door this past offseason. The fan base is also growing restless with the job Spaziani has done this year, who also rocks a Tom Selleck-style stache like no other. I would say that staches appear to be going out of style in Chestnut Hill these days.
New BC men's basketball coach Steve Donahue? Sans stache ... Same for men's hockey coaching legend Jerry York.
Clearly, they are growing out of style.
I think BC fans were more than patient with Tom O'Brien during his 10 year tenure on the Heights. Perhaps if O'Brien did grow a stache he would have been more patient with BC, instead of developing a wandering eye in his last few years on the Heights and declaring that 8-9 wins was the best you could do at a school like Boston College.
4.) Now that we're four years removed from TOB's tenure at BC, are there any noticeable differences in the program's talent level now versus then? See any trends that you like or don't like?
There is much more talent in the receiving corps. I like the potential I see in the WRs and TEs that have been recruited post-TOB. During the TOB years, BC never really had that standout wide receiver, relying instead on unheralded recruits to step into the lead WR role.
I think the talent on the offensive line has remained consistent pre- and post-TOB. Same with the defense. The one area where I think BC may have regressed a bit is on the defensive line. BC doesn't have the massive bodies it once had with B.J. Raji and Ron Brace. I'm hoping I'm wrong, but guys like that don't come around very often and it has been a struggle, particularly in the last 2 years to replace those two on the line. Time will tell, I guess.
5.) How does this defense stack up to the excellent groups you've had in recent years? Or is it too early to tell?
At linebacker, BC is as strong as it has been in years past, if not stronger. The emergence of Luke Kuechly as the star LB of the unit was a surprise last season, and he continues to instinctively fly to the ball game in and game out.
Defensive line is clearly a weakness of this year's defense, though Alex Albright is having a great season so far as he's been able to steer clear of injury for the first time in his career (knock wood). The inability of the defensive line to get pressure on opposing QBs has been a extreme weakness of this unit.
The secondary, while talented, was gouged by Dayne Crist and Notre Dame last weekend. BC clearly isn't its usual, ball-hawking defensive self, and I think a lot of that goes back to the line's inability to make opposing quarterbacks uncomfortable in the pocket.